Here is a disturbing study finding. Breathing air has a 100% association with death. Every person who has died has breathed air during their lives. Clearly, we need public health messages about the harms of breathing the air. The precautionary principle demands that we act before we know the full story.

Obviously ( I hope) this is ridiculous but it neatly demonstrates the problem with statistics and association studies that are used to guide public health nutrition messages. Studies do statistical correlations and then trumpet that “X” is linked  with “Y”. The latter generally being cancer.  This is why people scratch their heads about studies which says one thing one week and the opposite the next.

The simple and incontrovertible fact is that correlation is no causation.

Yet for years we have been told that fats in the diet are a problem and that eating meat is “associated” with cancer. This has reached a stage where it no longer questioned in health circles except by heretics who risk being howled down or worse, hauled in front of regulators as happened to Dr Gary Fettke in Australia and Professor Tim Noakes in South Africa to name but two.

A review of papers and meta-analyses released in September showed that there is no basis to the claims that eating red meat , or even processed meat, is associated with any adverse health outcomes. This may come as a surprise to many as it has not been widely promoted or publicised. Why would such an important finding be “hushed up”? Simple – it goes against the narrative.

As reported on Med Page Today “A theme throughout the series of papers was that the quality of all evidence connecting dietary composition with health outcomes is generally low — typically based on self-report with infrequent updating of dietary habits over time”.

Ouch – recommendations to the public based on consistently low quality evidence.

An editorial which accompanied the review in Annals of Internal Medicine  noted that the recommendation to continue eating red and processed meat “is sure to be controversial, but it is based on the most comprehensive review of the evidence to date.”

It added that those who seek to dispute the findings will struggle to do so without cherry picking as the review was so comprehensive.

Of course, before the ink was dry, all the usual suspects from the plant based movement were already screaming and calling for retraction. Why? Because it goes against their narrative.

True scientists such as Albert Einstein have observed that 100 experiments may not prove me right but one can prove me wrong. The entire nature of scientific inquiry is meant to start from the premise that the current theory is wrong. Well at least that was how it used to be and should be. Sadly, today it is about “settled science” and confirming how your particular theory is correct and should not be questioned by anyone, ever.

We know from real world experience that the shift to a grain (so called plant) based diet has led to an explosion in rates of obesity and type two diabetes. Yet big public health and its corporate backers doubled down this year with the Eat Lancet program to ration nutritious food like meat and get us all to eat more breakfast cereal.

So, to paraphrase Paul Hogan – “throw a chop or steak on the barbie”

Regular readers will know my view on this topic and the role of public health.  Columnist Jack the Insider has nailed the problem as I see it and thus gets the last word.

“What is a problem is the public health industry has become political in its conduct and worse, behaves like the ugliest kind of politician, the one that refuses to accept that they were wrong. Thus, people make life choices based on old or outdated information or get tangled up on the guilt trips the public health industry uses as weapons”.